Backsliding on the bay?
By Diane M. Cameron
Forty years ago, scores of Americans celebrated the first Earth Day. A fitting anniversary would be the unobstructed adoption of the Maryland Stormwater Management Act of 2007. For the past three years, state officials have been working to craft regulations to implement this act. These regulations take effect in May and are considered crucial steps in the campaign to prevent the destruction of the Chesapeake Bay.
However, in response to a ruckus raised by developers and municipal governments, the legislative leadership in Annapolis drew up emergency regulations that would undo the advances approved in 2007. These regulations are set to be considered by a joint House-Senate committee Tuesday. The regulations would add to the $12.billion backlog of unmet stream-restoration costs in Maryland, and the public — not the polluters — will end up paying this gigantic bill.
Public health is also at issue. When rainwater runs off our roofs, streets and parking lots, it picks up all kinds of harmful material: lead and mercury, bacteria in dog waste, oil from vehicles. This stew infects our creeks, rivers and the bay.
Though developers have had three years to prepare for implementation of the law, they have demanded the exemption of possibly thousands of projects through expanded grandfathering and other rollbacks. These grandfathered projects will use the obsolete pavement-and-pipe approach to stormwater management, rather than 21st-century methods such as green roofs, rain-absorbing gardens and infiltration swales along streets.
These new methods demand innovation, an American specialty, and they translate into jobs on the development site, in the fabrication of construction materials and the monitoring and repair of the materials. The campaign for clean water can be a core part of the region’s economic health.
The writer is conservation director at the Audubon Naturalist Society of the Central Atlantic States.
Posted by: mike78smith | April 6, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: kathybear | April 6, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: FRGasper | April 6, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: jckdoors | April 7, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.